Monkey Paw Games is continuing its campaign of publishing cool import-only and niche domestic games for PS1 – their most recent release is Arc the Lad III. We’ve made no attempt to hide our love for what they’re doing, since we’re all about niche imports, so much so that they contacted us to offer you, the readers, a cool promotion. After the recent release of Galaxy Fight on US PSN by Monkey Paw Games, and our updated coverage on Sunsoft Fighters, we’re giving away three copies of Galaxy Fight for PS3. Read on for details how to grab the prize, and also some cool Arc the Lad / Vic Ireland / Alundra shenanigans.
For a chance to win it’s simple:
Write 50 words on an obscure PS1 import game you’d like to see released on PSN and we’ll enter you in our raffle.
Winners will be chosen at random, and afterwards we’ll be putting the entries on our blog (so don’t forget to include your name). If you want to include a screenshot you can, but it’s not essential.
* Competition closes Wednesday 12 January, Midnight GMT time (which is like 7pm EST and 4pm PST). You’ve got roughly one week.
* Send as many entries as you like under the same name, but when Captain Murphy the cat comes to pick a winner out of his Fatal Fury hat, he’s only going to be putting one of each person’s name inside. Don’t try sending multiple entries under different names – he’ll be checking this stuff.
* Import games only. If it had a US or European release it doesn’t count.
* 50 words only please – we reserve the right to edit any entries.
* Prizes will be in the form of a PSN code – winners will need to have US PSN accounts.
* Email your text entries to HG101 overlord Kurt Kalata at email@example.com
Arc the Lad III
While we’re talking about MPG, we should also briefly mention the final instalment of the Arc the Lad collection being re-released. Yesterday, in fact! What I like about these titles being re-released is that they were published by Working Designs, which no longer exists. Which sets a precedent, since it means that with enough effort, any game with the exception of perhaps heavily licensed titles can be brought back – even if their original publisher is dead.
Victor Ireland has spoken about this in various places, including NeoGAF, and from the explanation the releasing of these games appears very much a labour of love, since profit margins aren’t especially high. In some cases it’s almost impossible, especially when rights are spread across multiple parties. As Vic said:
The problems come from the fact that initially a number of parties were involved, and with the passage of 10 years (or more in the case of some PS1 games) those companies have changed hands, merged, or disappeared. Following the rights trail is a challenge. Seemingly "simple" licenses become complicated when one party (say a musician) has rights again because a license lapsed. Or maybe 3 parties on a game are willing to license, but the 4th isn't interested or doesn't care. It's a lot of cheerleading and motivational politics, which adds up to time, time, time and money, for a game that sells for $6, divided 3, 4, 5, 6 or more ways (depending on the level of complication in the license) and won't sell 50k units, in all probability. It's an issue of opportunity cost in the end.
He also commented on possible future releases, since everyone is keen to see their favourite title come out:
Let's see how these first few go before getting people into a bigger lather. There's a tough road ahead, and I'm not sure the support is 100% there to make this work on PSN, but we're giving it a shot with some of the best PS1 stuff first to give it the best chance of succeeding.
So if Alundra and Arc can’t make it, then probably less well known games never will. I for one will be buying the Arc games, especially since I missed them first time round due to living in Europe. My hope is that this business model is sustainable and will snowball. Because if niche, small publishers can’t make a go of this business, then great games will be lost forever – or at least damned to excessive prices on eBay. Considering the inflation they receive thanks to savvy collectors, I’m especially excited at the possibility of these re-releases causing a price implosion on the second hand market. Great games deserve to be played by everyone, not idolised on the shelves of the privileged few.
Courtesy of MPG’s press release, we have more Ireland commentary on Arc III:
The great thing about Arc the Lad Collection was that the gameplay between the three series shared a common bond, but the experiences were so different. Now players who missed the series the first time around can finally put that last puzzle piece in their digital RPG collection and experience the great characters and satisfying end to the story arc that Arc the Lad III offers. GaijinWorks has been watching the reception of these titles we’re doing with MonkeyPaw Games and as long as the fanbase is there, we anticipate more import cooperation with MonkeyPaw Games. Slide us some PSN download love and we’ll make sure to return the favor with more digital gaming goodness.
Finally, and this isn’t really related to any of the above, but I stumbled across this Alundra page, detailing the fact that apparently there 9 different printings of the game. Wow.